Syrian Foreign Minister and head of the Syrian government delegation Walid al-Muallem speaks during a press briefing on peace talks at the United Nations headquarters on January 31, 2014 in Geneva.
Syrian Foreign Minister and head of the Syrian government delegation Walid al-Muallem speaks during a press briefing on peace talks at the United Nations headquarters on January 31, 2014 in Geneva.
News   /   Syrian Crisis

A week of UN-brokered peace talks between Syria's opposition and government has failed to achieve any tangible results, Foreign Minister "Walid al-Muallem" said today.

"I regret to tell you that we have not reached tangible results during this week", he told reporters after the closed-door negotiations wrapped up in Geneva.

Al-Muallem blamed a "lack of maturity and seriousness" on the part of the rival delegation, which he claimed had sought to "implode" the peace negotiations.

He said "they acted as if we had wanted to come here for one hour and hand over everything to them. It's indicative of the illusions that they are living under".

Al-Muallem spoke after U.N mediator "Lakhdar Brahimi" said he aimed to bring the two sides back to the table for a new round of talks from February 10.

Brahimi had told reporters that while the opposition agreed, the government delegation had informed him that it wanted time to consult with Damascus first.

Al-Muallem said President Bashar al-Assad and his government would first read the delegation's report, then make a decision on the next step, with the negotiators returning if the public demanded it.

"We represent the concerns and the interests of our people", Muallem insisted.

"We are a country. We have our government, our institutions. We are willing to discuss, but for that we have to know the identity of the other side: are they Syrians or are they not?"

The Geneva talks marked the first time Syria's warring sides had sat down together since the war began.

They revolved around the so-called Geneva-1 communique, drawn up by an international conference in 2012 in the Swiss city which did not involve both sides in the war, and where world powers called for a negotiated political transition in Syria.

Al-Muallem said " Geneva-1 as a communique was formulated in the absence of the Syrians", noting that" interpretations of its content diverged".

Al-Muallem added "the forefront of our concerns is combatting terrorism", saying the opposition was "completely detached from what is happening in Syria".

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